July 12, 2024

The January transfer market is now open, but if Brentford is unable to come to an agreement with the Real Betis wonderkid this month, Everton may try to sign Assane Diao in the summer.

Football Transfers reports that the Bees, who are currently only one spot above the Blues in the Premier League table, are keen to turn things around and are in talks with Diao’s Andalusian employers about strengthening their attack. However, the article states that “it’s unlikely a move will take place” unless the west London team meets the entirety of the player’s £26 million release clause, given that “Diao is a huge fan of Betis and is no rush to make a move.” According to Sky Sports, a winger and an additional center-back are

January transfer question but Everton could play the long game with 'perfect'  winger - Liverpool Echo

Even though wingers Jack Harrison and Arnaut Danjuma are only on season-long loans, Dele Alli, Seamus Coleman, Andre Gomes, Idrissa Gueye, Andy Lonergan, and Ashley Young are all approaching the last six months of their current contracts. This means that there is potential for a major overhaul of the Everton team this summer when several senior players on large salaries may leave the team, freeing up money for young, up-and-coming talents like Diao, who turns 19 on September 7. But what exactly does Sean Dyche’s team get out of the wide man?Sean Dyche explains Everton stance on buying and selling players in January  transfer window - Liverpool Echo

Similar to current Blues players Amadou Onana and Gueye (whose full name is Assane Diao Diaoune), he was born in Senegal but, like the former, who plays for Belgium, he represents his adopted nation internationally. He has been capped by Spain’s Under-21, U19, and U18 teams after moving there from Africa when he was three years old. Diao joined the Betis academy in 2021 after spending time in the minor ranks with Badajoz, Flecha Negra, and Balon de Cadiz. Originally a midfielder, he was switched to winger and made his senior debut as a substitute on September 21 of that year in a 1-0 Europa League loss to Rangers.

Although Ousseynou, Diao’s twin brother, is still in Cadiz’s minor team, he has already participated in 15 senior games for his Seville-based team this season and scored four goals. We may compare Diao’s season-long stats with players who are currently playing in his position in the Premier League by using Comparisonator’s Virtual Transfer tool.

As we’ve seen with Dwight McNeil and Harrison this season and when Alex Iwobi was preferred over Demarai Gray last season, Dyche likes his wingers to not only pose a threat in the final third but also put in a shift. The Blues boss may be encouraged to see that Diao is leading all other English top flight players in interceptions per 90 minutes. With a 3.46 figure in this category, the Betis player leads the Premier League leader Bruno Fernandes (3.26), his Manchester United teammate Antony (3.25), and Marcus Tavernier (3.12) of Bournemouth.

Only Mohammed Kudus (4) of West Ham United and Jordan Ayew (4.01) of Crystal Palace are gaining more possession than Diao (3.96). His average of 2.97 ball recoveries in his own half, which is greater than the next best Everton player James Garner’s (2.63), and can only be surpassed by Tavernier (3.56), Fernandes (3.26), and Kudus (3.2), further emphasizes his work rate.

In the final third, Diao is making his imprint with 100% accuracy in dangerous areas, surpassing Wolverhampton’s Hee-chan Hwang, the league leader, on 90%. He also scores a flawless 100% on successful long passes, surpassing Leon Bailey of Aston Villa on 82%. The youthful player also enjoys challenging opponents; he is rated third in offensive ground duels (16.69), with the same pair scoring 23.67 and 27.48, respectively, and in ground duels (23.24), behind Kudus (29.67) and Ayew (25.76).

Given the proximity of the clubs in the table, the Blues may find themselves outmanoeuvred for Diao if Brentford decides to make the financial commitment this month. However, if the competition for the teenager’s signature lasts until the summer, as seems likely based on early signs, he may fit the bill as an emerging talent whose best years are ahead of him, similar to the trio that director of football Kevin Thelwell brought to Goodison Park during his first transfer window during the summer of 2022.

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